June 22, 2021 (WASHINGTON, DC): More than 6,000 small businesses and their supporters sent a letter to Congress today urging legislators to do their job and support small businesses by opposing digital economy antitrust legislation. The targets of the bills, digital industry leaders Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, provide millions of small businesses with digital tools and services that will become more expensive and less effective if the House Judiciary Committee bills become law. The Committee plans to vote on the legislative package tomorrow morning, less than two weeks after the bills were introduced and without ever being discussed in a hearing.
In the letter, signers told Congress, “We understand there are headlines to be made in attacking large companies, but during the pandemic, Google, Amazon and other American technology leaders helped small businesses survive. . . . We did not ask you to spend precious time and taxpayer dollars going after companies that help small businesses. . . . Do not play politics in the name of competition. Instead, talk to small businesses that rely on the scale, security, and low prices digital tools and services provide to help with recovery and find success.”
“The United States Congress should not be picking winners and losers in any industry, and certainly not the innovation economy,” said Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council which organized the letter. “Our current antitrust laws have carried us through a depression, two world wars, the fourth industrial revolution, and several recessions. When markets have been manipulated or consumers harmed, those laws have been used effectively and as intended. We do not need new laws or to rush legislation, and we ought not vilify American technology leaders whose products and services have saved millions of American small businesses and tens of millions of American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. America’s tech companies were there for small businesses when needed, and small businesses are here for their tech partners now.”
Research shows that nearly 11 million small businesses would have closed all or part of their business without access to digital tools during COVID-19. In addition, small businesses that invested in digital tools earlier and with more urgency had a better chance of surviving the pandemic than digitally skeptical businesses, as digitally advanced firms generated 60% more revenue and hired more than twice the number of new employees during the pandemic.
“Motivation matters, and it’s obvious that these bills are not about small businesses that did not ask for them and don’t support them. The far wings of both political parties are mad because they think Big Tech is being weaponized by the other political party, but antitrust is not a political tool and ought not be used as such by Congress,” added Ward. “These bills don’t come within a country mile of addressing the frustrations that both sides claim are their chief grievances, which cannot be solved by antitrust laws. Instead, Congress should stop grandstanding, and start listening to small businesses by supporting the recovery and the digital economy.”